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Shoppers Still Think Twice About Cantaloupe

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Melanie Mac Caskie, 21, a senior at SUNY Purchase, said the news of Listeria-tainted cantaloupes killing a New York resident Friday was another reason people should buy locally-grown produce.

“I usually avoid stuff like this by buying locally,” Mac Caskie said while picking out vegetables at ShopRite. “Cantaloupe to me is more of a summer fruit so I only really get it from the farmer’s market, but some of my friends at school have been wondering why it’s still in the food bar.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 21 people, including a New York resident in Ontario County, had died from eating cantaloupes carrying Listeria. According to CBS , 109 people have become sick from eating the fruit, which authorities believe became infected with bacteria at the Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo.

Although ShopRite put a sign next to cantaloupe displays explaining that the fruit was purchased in California, some customers, including Maria Stiso, 51, were still nervous.

“I’m going to stay away from cantaloupe for a very long time. I’m petrified,” said Stiso. “Normally I buy it a couple times a month for a snack.”

A ShopRite manager said the White Plains branch did not buy its melons from the farm being investigated for Listeria contamination. Cantaloupe has remained a “very popular” fruit, according to the manager, who said most people are educated about the limitations of the outbreak.

CBS reported that the last shipment of tainted fruit left the Jensen farms on Sept. 10. Although most stores wouldn’t keep the melons past their two-week shelf life, Fruit Fresh Up, Inc. In Depew, N.Y. recalled 4,800 packages of cut cantaloupe after discovering it may be tainted Thursday.

The CDC said it expects the number of cases to rise because it can take up to two months for symptoms to emerge. All cantaloupes known not to have come from the Jensen Farms are safe, according to the CDC.

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